March of Dimes and Amerigroup Foundation Continue Efforts to Prevent Premature Births
$70,870 will help support group prenatal care programs
Baltimore, MD | Monday, May 15, 2017
Media ContactsJessica Wagoner (301-876-5372)
March of Dimes has announced a $70,870 grant from Amerigroup Foundation to help prevent premature birth and improve the health of moms and babies.
Prematurity is the #1 killer of babies in the U.S., and babies born even a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns. In addition to the toll on families, economic costs for prematurity are estimated at more than $26 billion annually by the National Academy of Medicine.
The Amerigroup Foundation grant will enable the March of Dimes to make CenteringPregnancy®, a group prenatal care model, available to additional women in Maryland by supporting programs throughout the state. CenteringPregnancy, developed by Centering Healthcare Institute, has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight. This prenatal care model integrates the three major components of care: health assessment, education, and support, into a unified program within a group setting. Eight to 12 pregnant women with similar due dates meet together, learning care skills, participating in a facilitated discussion, and developing a support network with other group members. Each CenteringPregnancy group meets for a total of 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum. The practitioner, within the group space, completes standard physical health assessments at each session.
“This grant allows the March of Dimes to provide much-needed support and services for thousands of moms, to help them have healthy, full-term pregnancies and healthy babies,” said Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes applauds Amerigroup Foundation for its dedication to better health for American families and their continued support of our mission to help give every baby a fighting chance.”
The $70,870 grant to the March of Dimes is part of Amerigroup Foundation’s ongoing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health in Maryland. Through its Healthy Generations program, the Amerigroup Foundation is working to address some of the nation’s most complex health issues, among them, reducing the incidence of low birthweight babies and engaging mothers in prenatal care.
“We have a long-standing commitment to supporting expecting mothers and encouraging behaviors that can have a positive impact on their health and the health of their child,” said Vince Ancona, Plan President of Amerigroup Maryland. “Through this grant, we’re excited about the opportunity to partner with March of Dimes in supporting cutting-edge research, treatment and outreach to provide every baby the best chance for a healthy start in life.”
The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million grant from Anthem Foundation, Amerigroup Foundation’s parent foundation, helped the March of Dimes provide prevention services to 6,600 women, including 3,300 who participated in CenteringPregnancy.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, launched in 2003, seeks to raise awareness of the problem and to lower the rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030.
About Amerigroup Foundation
The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.